Publications & Reports

African Australians living with HIV: a case series from Victoria.

Lemoh CN, Baho S, Grierson J, Hellard M, Street A, Biggs BA
Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, 4th Floor, Clinical Sciences Building, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Vic. 3050, Australia. [email protected]


BACKGROUND: This research aimed to describe the characteristics of African-born Victorians living with HIV, identify associations with delayed HIV diagnosis and describe their response to combination antiretroviral therapy (cART).

METHODS: A case series of African-born adults living with HIV in Victoria was conducted. Data was collected in interviews and reviews of case notes. Associations with delayed HIV diagnosis (CD4 below 200 cells microL(-1) at diagnosis and/or AIDS within 3 months of HIV diagnosis) were explored using univariate regression. AIDS-defining illnesses and response to cART were described.

RESULTS: Fourteen males and six females were included. Ten were born in the Horn of Africa (nine in Ethiopia). Sixteen had sexual exposure (12 heterosexual; four male-to-male sex). Seven reported acquiring HIV in Australia. Median CD4 count at diagnosis was 145 cells microL(-1). Ten had delayed HIV diagnosis, of whom eight were born in the Horn of Africa. Delayed HIV diagnosis was associated with birth in the Horn of Africa (odds ratio: 11.56). Nine had a diagnosis of AIDS, including three cases of tuberculosis, three of Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia and two of cerebral toxoplasmosis. Eighteen had received cART, of which 16 achieved virological suppression and 15 achieved a CD4 count above 200 cells microL(-1). Clinical failure and virological failure occurred in seven and five cases, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: HIV prevention strategies for Victoria’s African communities should address HIV exposure in Australia. Ethiopian-born Victorians with HIV appear to be at particular risk of delayed diagnosis. Response to cART in this series was comparable to that observed in other industrialised countries.


  • Journal: Sexual Health
  • Published: 01/06/2010
  • Volume: 7
  • Issue: 2
  • Pagination: 142-148


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